The Catalyst Programme

Facilitated collaboration, discussion and networking

The NHS NW R&D office has delivered over 10 catalyst events in the North West of England. These one day or series of events have brought together people from a wide range of healthcare and academic disciplines who have a shared interest.

What is a Catalyst Event?

The Catalyst philosophy was born out of complexity theory –  a theory based on the simple observation that chaos can breed brilliance.

In recognition of the vast clinical and academic expertise in health research in the North West but a lack of effective networking among those with that expertise the Catalyst Programme was established. Click here to see a short animation on the Catalyst Process. 


The aims of the NHS R&D Catalyst programme are:-

  • To Identify research questions of importance to policy makers, commissioners, service providers, clinicians, patients and the public
  • Create new, exciting and innovative collaborations to develop research funding
  • Improve links between the NHS and other organisations across the EU and  with Universities to facilitate research and support changes in practice
  • Contribute to economic agendas of  the North of England and EU regional partners, through the attraction of additional research and development funding .
  • Give colleagues in the North of England and the EU an  idea of strengths and potential gaps in research in the region
  • The event will provide an ideal opportunity to connect with international work to enable participants to draw on fresh learning from outside their own region.

Outputs of Catalyst Events

Significant outputs have included closer working relationships between academic institutions in Manchester and Liverpool, proposals for studies looking at early warning systems for heavy users of hospital care and developing, evaluating and implementing new paradigms in activity programmes for obese adults. There has also been development of a network to discuss creating an emotionally intelligent safe practice framework for individuals and teams in safety-critical clinical and social care contexts.  If you would more information on running your own catalyst event please contact

EU partners

The Catalyst process supports the health policies of both NW England and partner EU regions bycontributing to :

  • Improved health outcomes
  • Facilitation of research to discover how to deliver the safest healthcare
  • The delivery of increased activity and output from invention and research
  • The creation of a climate for retention, development and growth of both the health and research industries

Interactive partnerships with other EU regions and formal agreements can facilitate the alignment of research strengths and areas for future development. Catalyst events have been run in partnership with the North West Health Brussels Office[1] allowing wider collaboration with European health partners such as Catalonia in Spain and Veneto in Italy.

More information & previous events:

To explore our previous events please click on the ARCHIVE.